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How to Ease Afterpains After Giving Birth

By Heidi Gonzales ; Updated April 18, 2017

How to Ease Afterpains After Giving Birth. After giving birth, the uterus must return to its pre-pregnancy size. To do this, the uterus contracts and causes cramps that can vary from mild to very strong. These uterine contractions are known as afterbirth pains. The first few days after birth are when most mothers feel them. Afterpains have the potential to become worse with each subsequent delivery. There are several things you can do to lessen the discomfort of afterpains.

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Try to prevent afterpains. Urinating frequently can help prevent or lessen afterpains. As with contractions, a full bladder can make the afterpains hurt worse.

Increase pressure. You can use any type of support garment like an ace bandage or a belly wrap to snuggly wrap your abdomen. This will sometimes lessen the intensity of the afterpains.

Try using heat. Use a heating pad or a warm rice sock over your belly to reduce the afterpains. You can also try lying in a warm tub. For really intense afterpains you can lie on your belly with a heating pad or warm rice sock underneath you. The pressure and the heat can sometimes work together to relieve severe cramps.

Try relaxation methods. If you used breathing in labor and it worked you may want to incorporate it again. You can also use massage techniques or perhaps even take a mind journey to a beautiful place.

Try herbs or tinctures. There are certain herbs and tinctures that are specifically made to decrease afterbirth contractions. Of course, make sure that it is safe to take if you are breastfeeding.

Call your physician. If the afterpains are too intense you can call your physician to see what he recommends. He can advise you of what to take over the counter or prescribe pain medication.

Things You Will Need

  • Support garment
  • Heating pad or rice sock


Before taking anything over the counter, check with your physician to make sure it's safe. If you are breastfeeding, try all the natural remedies first before turning to medication.

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About the Author

Heidi Gonzales is a midwife, childbirth educator, doula, American Heart Association BLS instructor, author and editor for the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association e-mag. She left the Navy after 10 years to pursue her passion in birth work. She has attended over 60 births in Louisiana and has helped over 150 families through birth consultations. She volunteers as a childbirth educator at a pregnancy crisis center in Louisiana and also as an online career mentor.

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